Since moving to Nashville, I am obsessed with being outdoors.
Living in the desert for so long, I’ve missed seeing actual trees and living in a place with distinct seasons. After having such a cold winter, any moment that i can sit outdoors and enjoy the sun, you know im there.
I would have to say that it probably started when we moved to Missouri when I was 5. Or maybe even before that, as a toddler my parents would take me to the beach and I would throw a fit when it was time to leave. I LOVE the ocean…I mean, I was born in Oceanside, CA.
Then it all probably got worse when we moved to Missouri. We lived in Branson West for two years. For the most part, we lived in a trailer park. Yes, we lived in a couple different double wides. Its really quite redneck but hey, it was great for the time being.
All the kids in the neighborhood would run around, playing and causing a ruckus most of the time. In the summer we would all go down to the lake and spend out days swimming. In the fall most of us had to rake the leaves in our front yard, only to jump and mess the piles up. During the winter, whenever we had snow days we would all gather together and shovel our neighbors driveways for spare change then we would all go sledding together. In the spring we would run around lost in our own world of imagination. No matter what we would run, barefoot most of the time and just enjoy life.
The road we lived on was a dirt road. It was on this dirt road that I learned how to ride a bike. I can’t even begin to count how many bloody knees and elbows I had. There was a sharp turn at the end of the street and I ate it so many times. But nonetheless, I learned how to ride that banana seat, rusty pink bike that my dad bought at a yard sale. That was my pride and joy. Speaking of pride and joys, I had an awesome bug collection. I had all kinds of butterflies, spiders, walking sticks and just about any other type of creature I could put in my shoebox. Then there was also my killer rock collection. I thought I was so bad ass.
One of my favorite things was going fishing. Most of the time it was with my dad. My dad tried to get my brother into fishing but he would just be quite impatient and would rather play with his cars on the shore. We would grab our fishing pools and walk down to the lake and fish for hours. I loved it! Just sitting there, waiting for something to bite, then reeling the fish back on in. (I did catch a turtle once, which was kinda sad but we got him back to his merry way. Another time, I caught a cottonmouth, for those who may not be familiar, its a black poisonous snake and when it opens its mouth, its is white inside…therefore the name cottonmouth. We quickly cut the line and just let the snake fend for itself. )
Even when we moved up to Springfield, we were still running around with the neighborhood kids, riding our bikes, going to the pool in summer and getting in trouble all the meanwhile.
We didn’t have very much at times, but I loved my childhood. It felt like we were actually kids. Even today, it feels like it was a different world then. We would roam about all day and then when it would start to get dark we would know it was time to get back home before your mom called for you and you got in trouble. We had the freedom to just enjoy life. Before we all had cell phones, when the internet was all dial up and you were only allowed to be on for like an hour because your parents needed to use the phone. Back when we would tape TRL onto video tapes. Back when, it felt, like life wasn’t all that serious.
Living in Vegas, you never saw kids running around. They have no idea what it would be like to run barefoot through a field and have to check for ticks at the end of the day. They don’t really know the freedom of just being able to ride your bikes down to the park to play football in the rain. I feel, like if i had grown up in Vegas, I wouldn’t really have much of a childhood.
For me, its something that I treasure dearly. All the memories, all the redneck neighbors that we had. All the sleepovers, all the bruises and cuts. All of it is quite dear to me.
And maybe thats why I so enjoy the outdoors and this part of the U.S.
It brings me back to a much simpler version of life. It brings me back to my core. It reminds me that even through the trials and rough patches, its all going to be okay. That no matter how small I may feel, that theres a God out there that created it all and knows about every grain of sand and every creature that roams about. If they’re taken care of, then I’ll be taken care of and life will be alright.
Call me crazy, or whatever but being out in the midst of the beauty of nature, its where I feel God the most. Past the noise and the distractions, its out there where I feel refreshed and somehow know that in some crazy way it will all work out, like it always does.
So thank you for going down memory lane with me. I know it was a bit sporadic and random but as I was just wandering about on my hike today, I couldn’t help but think of all these things.